Crooks urged to hand over guns in two-week amnesty

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

CROOKS are be­ing urged to hand in their guns to po­lice and get help to re­turn to the “straight and nar­row”.

A two-week amnesty is be­ing run up and down the coun­try and Coven­try Po­lice Sta­tion is one of the places where weapons can be handed in anony­mously.

As well as urg­ing those who own firearms – no mat­ter what size or how old the weapon is – to hand them over, West Mid­lands Po­lice are also writ­ing to wives, girl­friends, moth­ers, sib­lings and other fam­ily mem­bers of sus­pected gun crim­i­nals in an ef­fort to en­cour­age them to re­port those in­volved in crime and of­fer sup­port.

The amnesty will run un­til Sun­day, Novem­ber 26.

Det Insp Rod Rose, from West Mid­lands Po­lice CID, said: “We’re con­tin­u­ing to urge any­one with in­for­ma­tion on the where­abouts of firearms to sup­port the sur­ren­der.

“Our mes­sage to those we know are en­trenched in gang cul­ture is clear; hand in your weapons and get help to leave a life of crime.

“We’re also re­mind­ing those who have in­for­ma­tion about peo­ple who may be in­volved in gun crime that the laws on il­le­gal firearms have re­cently been tough­ened up and any­one found in pos­ses­sion of a gun can now be jailed for five years.

“Past ex­pe­ri­ence tells us there will be peo­ple in the West Mid­lands who, out of mis­guided loy­alty, are stor­ing guns for part­ners, rel­a­tives or friends.

“They are risk­ing life be­hind bars, even if they have no in­ten­tion of us­ing the gun them­selves; they need to con­tact us dur­ing the win­dow Our mes­sage to those we know are en­trenched in gang cul­ture is clear; hand in your weapons and get help to leave a life of crime of this sur­ren­der be­fore it’s too late.

“If peo­ple feel they are be­ing pres­sured into stor­ing weapons then we can help them – we can of­fer sup­port to get away from that sit­u­a­tion.”

Post­cards are be­ing handed out by of­fi­cers to those sus­pected of be­ing in­volved in gun crime to not only in­vite them to hand in their weapons, but also get help to leave the life of crime.

The force ran its own firearms sur­ren­der at the end of Septem­ber which saw more than 140 firearms and pieces of am­mu­ni­tion handed in and of­fi­cers are keen for peo­ple who didn’t sur­ren­der their weapons then, to do so now.

Det Insp Rose added: “We know that some crim­i­nals make de­fin­i­tive choices and ac­tively pur­sue a life of crime. Oth­ers just make bad choices.

“They fall into crime by drop­ping out of ed­u­ca­tion, mix­ing with the wrong crowd, be­com­ing ad­dict­ing to drink or drugs and so on.

“Many of these peo­ple don’t ac­tu­ally want to be liv­ing in con­stant fear of be­ing ar­rested or al­ways look­ing over their shoul­der to see if a ri­val is seek­ing ret­ri­bu­tion.

“Our ex­pert of­fender man­agers can put them in touch with drug groups to break their cy­cle of crime to fund their ad­dic­tion. They can also signpost them to train­ing providers, call in the sup­port of the Princes Trust and more.”

Guns can be sur­ren­dered anony­mously but the his­tory of any live weapons will be checked for any ev­i­dence of crim­i­nal use.

The firearms will either be de­stroyed at the West Mid­lands Po­lice armoury or re­tained for train­ing ex­er­cises.

War­wick­shire Po­lice is also tak­ing part in the firearms amnesty with peo­ple able to hand in guns at po­lice sta­tions in Nuneaton, Leam­ing­ton and Rugby.

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